Iran reduces diplomatic presence in Afghanistan

Published: 04:00 AM, 16 Aug, 2021
 Iran reduces diplomatic presence in Afghanistan
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Iran has reduced its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, the foreign ministry said Sunday, leaving a skeleton staff at the embassy in Kabul as the city fell to the Taliban.

"There has been a reduction in staff at Iran's embassy in Kabul," foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement, adding that some personnel remained to ensure the "embassy's necessary activities" continue.

Khatibzadeh said staff had evacuated three of the Islamic republic's five Afghan diplomatic missions  -- in Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad and Kandahar -- but would continue their activities from the capital.

"Currently at these three offices only some guards and some local workers are present," he added.

He said diplomats had remained at Iran's consulate in Herat, adding that they were "safe".

Iran's foreign ministry had called Friday for security guarantees for its personnel in the western city after Taliban militants seized it.

President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday, effectively ceding power to the Taliban, who took the capital Kabul at the climax of a nationwide military victory that took just 10 days.

Last month, the Taliban and Afghan government had held talks in Tehran, where Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged both sides to "make difficult decisions for the future of their country".

Zarif said Sunday that "Iran stands ready to continue its peacemaking efforts" in Afghanistan.

"Violence and war -- like occupation -- never solve problems," he added on Twitter.

Analysts say Tehran is taking a pragmatic stance on the Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan, with which it shares a 900-kilometre (560-mile) border.

Iran already hosts nearly 3.5 million Afghans, who make up nearly four percent of its population, according to the UN refugee agency. 


Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.